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Heart Failure

When Does Surgery Help?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 09:48

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Your doctor may advise surgery for heart failure under certain circumstances. For example:

  • If you have coronary artery disease (blockage in the coronary arteries of the heart). It may be possible to improve the circulation to your heart with bypass surgery during which a vein from the leg or chest is used to "bypass" the blocked part of the artery, a major operation, or angioplasty which does not require an incision in the chest. In this procedure surgeons clear out the blockage from the inside by inserting a thin flexible tube (a catheter) into an artery in the arm or leg and threading it up towards the blocked section of the artery in the heart.

    For more detailed information about bypass surgery, go to Cardiac Bypass Surgery.

    For more detailed information about angioplasty, go to Angioplasty.

  • If you have a defective heart valve. Heart valves can be replaced.

Heart transplantation helps a few people each year. Unfortunately, even if plenty of donor hearts were available, this option is not suitable in most cases.

Heart Failure